Question: “My colleague is half-way through a management degree and is driving me nuts with his new found theories. We’ve always used good old common sense so how can I shut him up?” Stephen
Answer: “I feel really sorry for your colleague. He’s clearly enjoying his learning, working out how things apply in the workplace and what support is he getting from you? None. So what’s made you such a grump?
Could it be that you see him as a threat to you and your position? You’ve got a young whippersnapper who is questioning the “old” way of doing things and by default “your” way of doing things. That’s a blow to your ego. Also he might find a better way of doing something which challenges your comfortable way of working, so you might have to change, and diminish the respect and/or position that you hold within the organisation.
Let’s look at your management theory v common sense argument. Because it’s contextual and varies according to life experiences, what’s common sense for one person can be seen as stupidity by another. Management theories arise through analysing what’s gone wrong and suggesting approaches that work so you could say that management theories are merely common sense writ large.
Instead of rejecting your colleague’s ideas, why not look for the common sense element in them and help him then apply that to the situation. You’ll both learn that way, gain more respect for each other and enhance your own position within the organisation.”
Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd. To solve your problem email firstname.lastname@example.org Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.